Barreto case not a 'green light' to use mobile device to record video while driving

I heard in the news recently that a driver had his conviction overturned for driving whilst using a mobile phone. Does this mean the police can’t take any action against me if I do that?

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 6:00 pm
Picture posed by model to illustrate using a mobile phone whilst driving.

The case you are referring to is the case of Ramsey Barreto. In this case, Mr Barreto had used his mobile phone to film an accident scene as he drove past it.

He was prosecuted for the offence of driving a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone and convicted.

His conviction was overturned on the basis that using the phone to record a video was not using it for calls or other interactive communication or holding it at some stage in that process.

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The court were very clear that this judgement was not a “green light” to motorists to use their mobile phones to record videos whilst driving.

To do so could amount to a separate offence of Careless Driving or even Dangerous Driving.

Had Mr Barreto actually been talking on his phone, he would have been guilty of the offence.If you need to use your phone to communicate with others, you should pull over at a safe location and make sure your engine is switched off with the handbrake applied.

Alternatively, depending on the age and specification of your vehicle, you may be able to use Bluetooth or voice command for hands-free calls and messaging.

However, this could be distracting, and you should always ensure that your full attention is on the road.

The penalty for driving a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone is six penalty points and a fine.

The penalty for Careless Driving is penalty points or a driving ban, and the penalty for Dangerous Driving is a minimum 12-month driving ban with extended re-test and up to two years imprisonment.

Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist criminal defence solicitors who can assist you on issues such as this.

To speak to a solicitor please phone 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected].

Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for further information.